To answer shortly, Yes. It is safe to use wax paper to warm and heat your foods in a microwave, provided the food is not fatty or oily. Wax paper is resistant to radiations from a microwave.
This simply means that the particles of a wax paper cannot absorb radiations from a microwave. The wax paper can only gain heat from the food heated by the microwave.
Today, there are many materials used to pack foodstuffs. The most common ones are paper, plastic, metal, wax, and ceramic.
Some of these materials are safe to use in a microwave, and others are not. Some materials can melt under high temperatures of a microwave and may transfer toxins into your food.
In this article, we will examine whether microwaving wax paper is possible and safe. Here we go:
Why is Wax Paper Not Heated by a Microwave?
Microwaves work by causing the motion of molecules in the substances to be heated. Once the molecules absorb energy emitted by the microwave, they start moving hence colliding with the neighboring molecules.
These collisions cause friction among molecules resulting in heat. Some substances have molecules that can absorb microwave radiations while others do not.
A substance can absorb microwave radiations if its molecules fulfill the necessary criteria for the absorption of microwave radiations.
Some of the substances that can absorb microwave radiations include; water, oils, fats, salt, and sugar. For wax, its particles do not meet the necessary criteria to absorb the radiations of a microwave.
Therefore, it allows the microwave radiations to pass through them without absorbing any radiations. This is the reason why a wax paper is referred to as being transparent to microwave radiations.
Water-Based Food in Wax Paper
Since the boiling point of water is 100°C, water-based foods rarely heat beyond this point in a microwave. This makes it safe to heat water based-foods in a microwave, using a wax paper.
Moisture from this food accumulates on its surface, wetting the wax paper and making the wax even more difficult to melt. However, fatty, oily, and burnt foods can easily bypass 100°C, which can melt the wax paper.
Also, these foods can significantly raise the temperature of wax beyond its melting point. This may smoke or burn the paper.
Is it Safe to Heat Foods Using Wax Paper?
Wax paper is manufactured in both the unbleached and bleached variants. If the bleached variant is made in an industry using chlorine, traces of toxic dioxins may find their way into the final product.
If available, these toxic dioxins can be transferred into food during heating. However, the amounts of these harmful dioxins that can be transferred into food are negligible and insignificant.
To be on the safer side, avoid using bleached paper. The wax is made of food-grade wax, and has no negative effects. The only problem with wax is its taste. If it melts and finds its way into food, it may ruin the food’s flavor.
How Can I Safely Use a Wax Paper to Heat Food in a Microwave?
Wax paper is very safe when used as a lid to cover food in a microwave. If used as a lid, it rarely makes contact with food, melts, or burns. This is how the manufacturers intend it to be used.
Nonetheless, you can use a wax paper to wrap food by taking the following safety precautions:
- Ensure you only wrap the right types of foods. The right foods are those that cannot melt the wax or burn the paper. These foods include; water-based foods, fruits, and garlic. Foods that should not be rubbed include; fatty and oily foods and salty foods.
- Ensure that you buy wax papers from reliable brands.
- Never use wax paper in a microwave for too long.
When to Use Wax Paper in a Microwave
You can use wax paper while heating leftover foods, using it as a lid for containers in a microwave. You can also use it as a pan lining when baking cakes and bread, and covering foods meant to be unfrozen in a microwave.
Conclusion on Microwaving Wax Paper
Now, you know when to use wax paper in your microwave safely, follow the steps above and you should be fine.